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Why I Started This Blog

Cloud is taking over. It is the biggest thing since the Internet. And it changes the way businesses and individuals use software applications. I see the cloud as a massive enabler and this blog is about how to unlock the full value of cloud computing.

Do you remember the first time you used cloud software and the feeling of relief? You no longer had to send files back and forth!

During my time as a student we were given a lot of group assignments. This meant sending your group mates emails to update on progress. The moment you clicked send they were obsolete, because too often someone else just made changes. It was frustrating. Sharing a file in the cloud enabled us to collaborate in one document!

Today we all use cloud software, at least in private life. We enjoy our smartphones and an abundance of apps that come with it. Most of these apps are in the cloud or even cloud-native; Google Docs, Office 365, Netflix, Spotify, Twitter are just a few that come to mind. But how’s the situation when you go to work on Monday?

Companies are still struggling to move to the cloud, because they are so stuck in their outdated IT infrastructure. Besides that, there is a lack of understanding the cloud. And who can blame them if you see the official definition?

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

This blog is really about stripping away the technical jargon and making cloud understandable for a broader audience, besides the CIO. Cloud really is a gateway to modernisation. It enables business growth and innovation. And I would love to see more people getting the most out of it.

With this in view, I am happy to announce a couple a blog posts regarding all kind of cloud-related topics. I hope you all enjoy reading my posts and are able to make use of it when adapting cloud computing, whether you are a cloud consumer or provider of cloud services.

Single- vs. Multi-Tenant: How to Get the Most Out of Cloud

Cloud can be confusing sometimes. You understand the difference between on-premise and cloud, but then there are multiple cloud architectures. You immediately ask yourself: What is the difference? And, which one is better? To begin with, there is no universal answer. However, a multi-tenant cloud will probably cost you less.

Single-Tenant

A single-tenant cloud only serves a single client. Is it also known as a private cloud. The infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organisation. Usually this is operated by a third party and managed off-premises. Some refer to this as hosting, because on-premise servers and storage are outsourced to an external provider. Picture it as a mansion in a cloud.

Multi-Tenant

In a multi-tenant cloud multiple customers share infrastructure. Often people compare a multi-tenant cloud with an apartment building; many apartments mean multiple tenants. Tenants represent an organisation’s data, which is isolated from others. Just like your neighbors cannot enter your apartment, because brick walls and doors separate you. In the end, the building’s services and costs are shared by all tenants.

Wie ihr die NIST Definition der Cloud für euch nutzt

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Das National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hat eine Cloud Definition herausgebracht, die allgemein anerkannt ist. Ich finde sie wirklich klasse! Sie adressiert alle Charakteristika von Cloud Computing. Allerdings ist sie sehr lang, verschachtelt, und voll von Fremd- und Fachwörtern. Darum möchte ich diese einmal in die deutsche Sprache übersetzen und zeigen wie man sie verständlicher machen kann.

1:1 Übersetzung

Die 1:1 Übersetzung ist ein erster Schritt, um die Definition besser zu verstehen.

Cloud Computing ist ein Modell, um ortsunabhängigen, bequemen, “auf-Abruf” Netzwerk Zugang zu einem geteilten Pool von konfigurierbaren EDV Ressourcen zu ermöglichen (zum Beispiel; Netzwerke, Server, Speicherung, Applikationen, und Serviceleistungen), die rapide bereitgestellt und freigegeben werden können mit minimaler Management Mühe oder Dienstleister Interaktion.

Daniel Geuther’s translation of the NIST cloud computing definition

Die “Häppchen-Definition”

Wenn ihr die Definition euch selbst oder jemand anderem erklären wollt, empfehle ich euch diese zu kürzen und in mehrere “Häppchen” aufzuteilen.

Wenn euch also jemand fragt “Wie definierst du Cloud?”, dann könntest du auf die NIST Definition verweisen und anfangen mit “Cloud ist ein Modell, um ortsunabhängig Zugang zu einem Pool von Ressourcen zur elektronischen Datenverarbeitung zu erhalten – zum Beispiel zu Netzwerken, Servern, Speicherplatz, Apps, und Services.”

Eventuell kannst du gleich an dieser Stelle verdeutlichen, dass sich diese EDV Ressourcen nicht im Haus, sondern im Internet befindet und darum von einer Wolke – engl. “Cloud” – gesprochen wird. Der Pooling Aspekt könnte bei besonderem Interesse für die Multi-Tenant Cloud hervorgehoben werden. Das Verb pooling bedeutet “bündeln” – ein Swimming Pool ist eine Bündelung von Wasser, und in unserem Kontext ist ein Pool eine Bündelung von EDV Ressourcen in der Wolke.

Im nächsten Schritt erklärt ihr den zweiten Teil der Definition, der weitere Vorteile der Cloud offenlegt. Nun sagt ihr “Diese EDV Ressourcen können schnell bereitgestellt werden mit minimalem Aufwand.” Dann könntet ihr allgemeine Unterscheidungsmerkmale beschreiben oder euer Gegenüber auf die Cloud-Vorteile aufmerksam machen, die er oder sie bereits heute mit seinem Smartphone genießt.

Ausgangspunkt zur Frage “Warum Cloud”

Abschließend kann ich sagen, dass die NIST Definition ein genialer Ausgangspunkt ist, um die Cloud fachlich fundiert zu erklären. Es ist ein super Einstieg und gleichzeitig Sprungbrett in die weitere Nutzenargumentation. Von dieser Definition ausgehend, könnt ihr auf einzelne Charakteristika eingehen oder verschiedene Service Modelle aufzeigen.

Cloud Service Models: How to Tell the Difference between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

Before cloud there was on-premise. This essentially is ‘packaged software’ and means that the consumer has to manage the whole infrastructure, which runs on the premises of the organisation. It includes; applications, data, runtime, middleware, operating system, virtualisation, servers, storage, and networking.

Cloud on the other hand is the access to services through the internet. However, the level of service varies based on what is managed by the cloud provider.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS means that full management is being provided by the cloud provider. Cloud users consume benefits of the applications without dealing with the infrastructure behind. It is the norm in B2C offerings as we all use software such as Office 365 without worrying about underlying IT infrastructure. Prime B2B example would be Salesforce who disrupted the enterprise software industry with their pure SaaS approach.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Pre-defined and ready for use environments are what make up a PaaS offering. Resources are already deployed and configured. There is no need to set up and sustain the back-end infrastructure, which also means less control. Enterprise software companies might also deliver their customers a Platform as a Service, which can be seen as an application development framework.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

As the name suggests infrastructure is provided as a service, which means there is a shared cloud ownership between the cloud provider and cloud consumer. A cloud infrastructure provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides the infrastructure on which an enterprise software company like Infor runs its operating system and ultimately its applications. The end-user enjoys the applications in a SaaS offering.

Why is Cloud Computing Symbolised by a Cloud?

Origin of symbolising cloud computing with a cloud is that network diagrams presented the Internet with a cloud symbol. In that sense a cloud is synonymous with the Internet. In the context of enterprise software cloud computing refers to storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of one’s own computer. That’s also why you will come across expressions such as “moving business into the cloud”.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Cloud Could Benefit Your Business

Many people ask themselves “Why should I move to the cloud?” – Here are five reasons why the cloud should be part of any digital transformation strategy.

1. Security & Compliance

Be better protected against cyber attacks by being in a professional cloud. Professional providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) have deep pockets to invest millions of dollars in security measures. Usually they follow Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) best practices like separation of duties and layered defense architecture. At the same time they adhere to global and industry-specific regulatory compliance.

2. Different Buying Experience

Buying software in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model – instead of license model -removes the hassle to deal with hardware refreshes and massive upgrades every few years. You can plan for IT spend just like any utility such as power or lights or water. Behind this really is a pay-per-use approach that is easy to budget.

3. Innovation at Your Pace

Always be current and innovate at your own pace. Take advantage of the ever-growing set of innovations, from business collaboration to mobility tools. Ensure you are always current in the rapidly evolving digital era and drive innovative business solutions that add value to your organisation and customers.

4. Performance & Scalability

Be successful and grow. The cloud allows access to computing power when you need it. Have the flexibility to scale up or down based on usage. Working in an automated agile operating model lets you create a next-generation IT infrastructure that is ready and easy to manage across all future business scenarios.

5. Focus on Core Business

Focus on your core competencies. There is no need to hire an army of administrators and IT experts. Who needs to spend money on rooms full of hardware that need regular maintenance and administration just to keep the basic system running? Leave operational IT management to others and let them take care of it for you.